Train yourself to be more creative

I hate labels. Even when the label is great. Now let me tell you why. 

In 2013 I started working with different brands as an artist briefed to propose unique creative concepts and a 360 approach. From visual identity to storytelling, messages and eventually guerilla and/or experiential marketing ideas. The task seemed to be quite glamorous, isn’t it? It was. But in 2 years the word ‘creative’ became the worst label for me, generating frustrations due to the fact that people took it for granted and would come to me even for a simple word or what they would consider to be a ‘small idea’. Hell, yeah, that small idea is not like your ‘small’ Excel. You can use the same formulas and columns as long as you need, but that ‘small idea’… I can use it only once. Is it worth the pain? If yes, I’m more than glad to be part of it. If not really, then I can share some tips from personal experience that might help you boost your creativity and also understand why this is a full time job, not an episode. I’m creative because I work for that, not because I’m lucky. 


  •    Discipline, Discipline, Discipline

First of all, what ‘creativity’ means? If you google it, the first definition is ‘the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. You might have a lot of ideas, you might have great seasons of inspiration but one day, you’ll have no idea, no inspiration, no originality, you won’t be able to create anything. That’s why you need to drink water before you get thirsty. What I do in order to increase my collection of ideas is to respect a daily schedule that includes: 

1.       Reading literature (at least one hour/day)

Is vital! Not only because it opens your imagination, but it also gives you the possibility to ‘steal’ different writing techniques and styles, digest it and transform it into something completely new, right at the meeting point between past and contemporary language. In the end, everything speaks about same old things, situations and feelings. But playing with the storytelling, the angles from where you describe it, with words and the style will always give a new dimension to the story. Like literature does to our mind. It opens new dimensions.

2.       Nurture your retina (30 minutes/day)

I love magazines! Fashion magazines, artsy, home & deco, design & style, cultural or artistic catalogues, exploring all those images, discovering the vision behind a mesmerizing photo-shooting and the courage to break the rules and to illustrate something you never thought about- is more than a source of inspiration. Becomes a motivation. The more you see, the more you learn, the more you dare. It educates your eye and feeds your creativity. When I finish all magazines or I don’t find a material to catch my attention, I always go back to Helmut Newton’s catalogues.


3.       Watch at least one movie per day  

Because script. Because beautiful images. Because soundtrack. Because the movie concentrates different complex factors in a 2 hours experience, leveraging simultaneously on the sight and sound. More neuronal connections, more questions to be asked, more answers to be given, more creativity to be explored. Here are some movies that you can always rediscover from different angles when you’ve exhausted all Netflix options: Red Desert and Blow up by Antonioni, The Godfather series, The Grandmaster  directed by Wong Kar-wai, Le conseguenze dell’amore, La Grande Bellezza and La Giovinezza expressing Paolo Sorrentino’s philosophy. Oh, and Tarantino’s films. Oh, and I didn’t mention Kubrick. And Lynch. Did I say one movie per day? It should be 2. J)

It seems relaxing, isn’t it? Now imagine that this is mandatory. Everyday. When you’re in the mood and when you’re not. When you’re in pain or when you’re happy. When you didn’t finish your work or you have a close deadline. Coming back from work and dedicate at least 3 hours only for these activities, without skipping any. While your colleagues are going out or having fun together. Yes, it involves being the lone wolf. But don’t worry, you also have the classical music and the jazzy one that will keep you company.  


Plus: grow your passion. Don’t forget about your talent or unique skill that also needs to be developed. If you’re a writer, then you should also spend time for writing. For example, I paint or sketch every night for minimum 2-3 hours. What I learned last year is that respecting this schedule is more important on the long run than bringing home the work I didn’t finish during the day. If I don’t invest in myself today, I won’t be better tomorrow. And being better shouldn’t be my priority only, but also my partner’s/employer’s priority.     

  • Besides this ‘personal schedule’, what also helps me a lot to boost my creativity is the use of curiosity. I love to interview people and to ask them simple or difficult questions. Sometimes the answer is very inspirational, but other times, the way they look, their smile or reluctance are more valuable reactions that can challenge you to imagine all the possible answers.
  •  Last but not least, hunting all kind of experiences (from a beautiful sunset to a theatre play, from a short walk by the lake to spontaneous trips), digest all these memories and sensations and use their final texture to escape from reality through fantastical imagination, preparing for the future through episodic imagination or just acknowledging everything through meditation- proves that creativity is a muscle that can perform as much as you train it.
  •   res3

@ Photos by Timeea Szekely

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